Because femur length can affect torso positioning during squatting, there really is no “one size fits all squat”. Hopefully the images above and this explanation will help further clarify these points. Dr. Ryan DeBell of The Movement Fix wrote a great article discussing in detail how hip anatomy changes squat mechanics, and inspired me to make this follow up post.
Besides mobility, which is known as the pliability of our muscles and connective tissue, anatomy differences can explain why some people can squat deeper than others, why some point their toes out, why some squat wide and some squat narrow. These anatomical differences will dictate form and comfort of the athlete. We can all agree on what a proper squat should look like, right?
- Back neutral
- Knees tracking your toes
- Keep your core tight
Click to see slideshow
Pic 1- one femur head points up, one points down
Pic 2- one neck is a lot longer than the other
Pic 3- the angle between the shaft and the ball is greater in one femur than the other
Pic 4- large versus small hip socket, one oriented up, one oriented down
Trying to force a movement pattern upon someone who’s anatomy isn’t conductive for it can be disastrous. If the athlete is uncomfortable in their stance despite how much mobility work they do, it’s important to look at their anatomy and let the stance and depth be dictated by comfort. The key point is to rule out mobility deficits first and making sure the athlete is taught how to perform a squat with proper form.
Stefanie Cohen, SPT